On a Friday, during my weekly commute, the half-hour before 8 a.m., I listen to the BBC World Service program, Heart and Soul. One particular show regarding the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower Fire, Faith in the Fire, reminded me of what All Souls Church in Tulsa strives to achieve. I shared this story with the ministers and want to share with our BeyondBelief.online readers.
From the Faith in the Fire episode.
“On the night the Grenfell Tower fire began on 14 June 2017, the mosques and churches which encircle the tower block in Kensington, West London, provided bases for vital relief work. It was Ramadan so many Muslim faithful were returning from prayers when the fire started, and they were able to alert residents and help people get out of the burning building.”
In the hours and days that followed, in one of the richest areas of one of the wealthiest cities in the world, people of all religions were mobilized in the crisis and came together to offer crucial pastoral support and practical help, while the authorities were accused of being slow to respond.”
Presenter Zubeida Malik meets the residents and religious leaders to find out what happened that night and how they continue to administer emotional support and funeral prayers in the aftermath of the tragedy. And she asks them what kind of answers faith can provide in such a crisis.”
The residents of Grenfell Tower were multi-ethnic, multi-religious, and multi-national from twenty countries. Residents met each other as they passed through the main entrance to the building. Religious differences were cleansed by the fire. People were united by the disaster. As one man said: “There is only one God.”
From the ashes of this fire rose the Phoenix of strong community among which people of all faiths rallied to help each other.
We at All Souls Unitarian Church aspire to be a diverse, tolerant, multi-racial community of all souls. We teach our children about world religions. We are on a journey together. Our individual task is to remain curious and knowledgeable about the world we inhabit, and to be active participants.
If there is one thing that could be classified as a sin against God then it would be willful ignorance.
If we are to love our neighbors as ourselves then we must know who our neighbors are, near or far.
I thought that perhaps others in our community of all souls would be interested in knowing about Heart and Soul as an option to learn about other religions and perspectives.
Below are a few Heart and Soul episodes to get you started:
A Diary of a Pakistani Atheist about the dangers of calling yourself atheist in Pakistan.
Spirit of the Midnight Sun about the spiritual bond between the Sami people of Northern Europe and the land, sea and air.
Giving Death Back to the People about a funeral director committed to doing death differently.
Good Without God about the son of America’s most famous Christian preacher who turned his back on God.
Inside the Mosque Ruled by Women about Denmark’s first female imam.